On Monday, the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Solutions (CMS) announced that for the duration of the COVID-19 public health unexpected emergency time period, Medicare will include up to 8 about-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 checks per enrollee, per month, at no expense.
People today with Portion B, whether in First Medicare or a Medicare Benefit (MA) system, can attain the free of charge assessments from any taking part pharmacy or wellbeing care supplier they are not expected to be a present patient or client and do not have to have a prescription. Beneficiaries may perhaps have to have to display their crimson, white, and blue Medicare card—even if they have a further card for an MA or Part D plan—but will not be responsible for any value sharing.
CMS notes the importance of the new plan, indicating, “This is the 1st time that Medicare has covered an above-the-counter self-administered take a look at at no expense to beneficiaries. This new initiative permits payment from Medicare immediately to collaborating suitable pharmacies and other overall health care providers to allow Medicare beneficiaries to obtain checks at no value.”
A partial list of participating entities can be observed below. To date, it features countrywide pharmacy chains this sort of as Costco, CVS, Meals Lion, Big Food stuff, Kroger, Ceremony Help, Walgreens, and Walmart. As this list is possible to develop, CMS advises persons with Medicare to verify with their pharmacy or wellness care company to locate out no matter if they are participating. If so, they can provide the checks and will monthly bill Medicare on the beneficiary’s behalf.
Importantly, these exams are distinctive from and in addition to all those already out there, together with for free by means of covidtests.gov, and as requested by health and fitness care suppliers at neighborhood-centered tests web-sites and labs. They are also separate from any that could be supplied by means of an enrollee’s MA system. As CMS clarifies, “If you are in a Medicare Advantage approach, the checks protected below this initiative will be included exterior of your current plan’s coverage, and in addition to any around-the-counter tests that could be included under the system as a supplemental reward.”
The Medicare Legal rights Heart applauds the new initiative. It properly corrects the imbalance in the administration’s preliminary OTC screening plan, which applied to private insurers but not Medicare. The administration formerly announced it experienced discovered a workaround, and the details released this week present desired clarity and protection.
Examine the CMS Push Release, Biden-Harris Administration Announces a New Way for Medicare Beneficiaries to Get Free Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Assessments.
Examine the CMS Actuality Sheet, Medicare Covers In excess of-the-Counter COVID-19 Assessments and FAQ, Medicare Protection of More than-the-Counter COVID-19 Checks: Commonly Asked Inquiries.
People with Medicare can get additional information and facts by getting in touch with 1-800-MEDICARE and heading to: https://www.medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus.